Firefighters,....paid and not paid.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Firefighters,....paid and not paid.

    Anyone here one or the other?
    I here that if you're a Volunteer FF, you can get a small bonus for being called out to an emergency? But other times at the fire station, its all free.

    Also, if you're a Volunteer FF, are you required to give so many days a week?
    How long is the typical shift?

    And has anyone transitioned from being a Volunteer to being a Paid FF?

  2. #2
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    Volunteer means you do it for free. Some stations may have incentive programs, and some counties/cities even offer some benefits (not money), but I'd say 99% of the stations are 100% free.

    As far as shifts, again, different stations, different scenarios. I'd imagine in busy areas, stations with enough members may have a duty roster where you sign up for a block of time and you stay at the station for the time period. Others, like mine, you just show up when there is a call, for meetings, and drills, and of course sometimes hang out at the station just to hang out. It's a great brotherhood.

    I tried to go paid, it's a VERY competitive job market and not so easy to get a paid position, but those that do, rarely do they leave the job unless forced to.

  3. #3
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    Thx Nubster for your feedback. Im just starting to do some probing around to see if Im gonna give it a shot. Yeah, I had a feeling that Volunteer means, V-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r. My wife's cousin in Louisiana gets a little something only when called to a scene.
    I'll keep asking around. I'll give the local FD in my area a ring Monday.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I just mean don't expect to get any compensation for your time. If you do, that's awesome and a major bonus. Most places don't and it sucks, but if you start, you'll understand, it gets in your blood and you may b!tch about it sometimes, but you'll still do it for free because you can't help yourself.

    Just throwing this up for the heck of it...this is me a few years ago toasting some marshmallows...


  5. #5
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    I used to be a volunteer firefighter and we got paid $7 a call and every Tuesday was a meeting/training day for a couple hours in the evening. They also offered retirement but I'm not sure how much or what bebefits. I'm pretty sure it all depends on the city you are working for.

  6. #6
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    If you really want to fight fire as a full time job and can't get on at a station another cool option is wildland firefighting. I did that with the WA state DNR for a few years and it's a blast. A lot of hard work and overtime but it pays well and the experience is something that will stay with you for a long time. Plus when there's no fires you get to spend all that extra time hiking in the woods and doing trail maintenance. I stopped when I joined the Army 8 years ago and still miss it. I'm actually considering going back to it "just because" when I retire from the Army in 12 years or so.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnoobadam View Post
    If you really want to fight fire as a full time job and can't get on at a station another cool option is wildland firefighting. I did that with the WA state DNR for a few years and it's a blast. A lot of hard work and overtime but it pays well and the experience is something that will stay with you for a long time. Plus when there's no fires you get to spend all that extra time hiking in the woods and doing trail maintenance.
    I did this too.
    3 seasons. 2) on a hand crew and 1) on a heli-attack shot crew.
    Hard work - Yes!
    Blast - Yes!

    A great way to spend the summer as a young man. Excellent pay if you are at an active station. I was pulling down more money than a degreed engineer with regular pay, hazard pay, flight pay and per diem. Plus they feed you pretty damn well if you are near a fire camp - all you can eat steaks and such. Otherwise we had C-Rats (MREs now I expect).

    Air Shows are very cool -- from the ground that is! - grin....


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dead_dog_canyon View Post
    I did this too.
    3 seasons. 2) on a hand crew and 1) on a heli-attack shot crew.
    Hard work - Yes!
    Blast - Yes!

    A great way to spend the summer as a young man. Excellent pay if you are at an active station. I was pulling down more money than a degreed engineer with regular pay, hazard pay, flight pay and per diem. Plus they feed you pretty damn well if you are near a fire camp - all you can eat steaks and such. Otherwise we had C-Rats (MREs now I expect).

    Air Shows are very cool -- from the ground that is! - grin....
    +rep for you as soon as I can again.

    I did 2 seasons on an engine and 1 on a 20 person hand crew. I made enough money over the summer that I could spend all winter snowboarding and only have to work a bs part time job for spending money

    Ageed that the airshows are pretty darn cool as long as they aren't dropping directly on you Had that happen more than a few times

  9. #9
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    I have been both. My volunteer dept. was one meeting a week on tuesday nights with some saturday trainings here and there. We carried pagers to alert us to calls.

    Every department works differently depending on size of district, budget, manpower etc.

    I was a paid ARFF guy at an airport. We worked an 8 hour shift where we were paid an hourly wage. The rest of the time carried a pager and would be paid if we were called in.
    I have an AAS degree in Fire Science.

    If you are thinking of volunteering DO IT.
    Best years of my life by far. Most rewarding thing I have ever done. I was and still am closer to some of my firefighter friends than I am most of my family.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnoobadam View Post
    If you really want to fight fire as a full time job and can't get on at a station another cool option is wildland firefighting...
    I retired after 32 years in the Forest Service -- hot shot crew captain, helicopter captain, engines, prevention, etc. I did all the positions. It was fun while young and liked the adrenaline rush of catching fire small that should have gone big. Took a toll on the family life, gone all summer. It stopped being fun after the third coworker funeral. I finally promoted up to a desk job to build my final pay for my pension. It is a dangerous job and takes its toll physically. My knees are nearly shot as is my hearing. So many of my now-retired peers are physical wrecks, fighting cancers, arthritis, and heart/lung problems I count myself lucky it's only my knees and hearing.

    On the plus side I saw some backcountry that even the most ardent backpacker never sees. Dropped off by helicopter in some remote wilderness 10 miles of steep cross country from the nearest trail. Having to grizzly-proof our campsite. Narrowly escaped being attacked by a moose (inadvertantly got between momma and her calf). Fought fire in every western state except Hawaii, and a good number east of the Mississippi.

    All in all, its one of those experiences that I wouldn't trade for a million bucks, and wouldn't pay a nickel to do it again.

  11. #11
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    Special thx to all you guys for throwing in your 2cents and personal experiences.
    I checked into my local VFD, and it turns out their gonna start up another class this October! So Im gonna turn in the application and go from there.
    Enough of my babbling,..need to get outside and start exercising

  12. #12
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    Full time paid Police Officer, Firefighter, EMT. We do ARFF (Aircraft Rescue Firefighting) as well as providing structure fire protection for an air industrial park associated with the airport. I do a 24 hour shift, consisting of 8 hours of fire standby, 8 hours of police patrol, 8 hours of down time/ sleep. Obviously you are still subject to police & fire calls during your assigned sleep time. We are also responsible for perimeter security of the airfield, snow removal in the industrial park , runway & taxiway inspections on the aircraft operations area, as well as runway surface evaluations during inclement weather. All in all......its a pretty cool gig

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